Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rainbows, Accidents and the Miracle of Life

I was driving down a major highway this week towards the tail end of a long weekend in Canada and a thought came to mind:

These drivers must be really religious.  You can feel their sense of immortality, that God will protect them against all odds,  as you observe their driving habits.

After being cut off numerous times this weekend by drivers running stop signs, red lights and such in their hurry to get to a place of relaxation for the weekend, I found myself cruising down the highway heading for home when I was passed from behind by three police cars going somewhere in a hurry.

A short time later, I could see where they were going.

A large SUV, or what was left of it, was lying upside down, obviously having rolled and bounced many times before coming to a stop beside the lanes on the other side of the median.

It was clear from the amount of ground that was torn up between the lane I was in and the oncoming lanes that the vehicle had to have been travelling considerably faster than the speed limit to have plowed through our guard rail, flipped repeatedly and torn up the guard rail on the opposite side before coming to a stop.

Beside the vehicle, covered by a yellow covering of some type and surrounded by a shield to prevent onlookers from seeing, lay the body of one of the occupants.

It was one of those crashes that makes you instantly weak to behold and causes you to say a silent prayer for all those involved, including the injured, the witnesses and the first-responders (the latter whom we don’t say thank-you enough to for all that they do).

About five minutes past the gawkers-block that had developed, the most brilliant rainbow developed to my left.

This was no ordinary rainbow.  Being late in the evening, it was close by, terminating on a hill less than a mile away.  It was the most brilliant rainbow I have ever seen and conditions were perfect for a second one (the reflection of the first one) to form a perfect companion.

Given that the sun was low in the sky, I was able to see the full 180-degree arc of the double rainbow and it was, truly, the most spectacular one I have ever seen.  Many drivers must have felt the same as many people pulled over and started at it, standing wide-eyed with their mouths hanging open the way you would expect them to if a gigantic alien spaceship were descending through the clouds.

Then I thought of the driver lying on the road beside his or her destroyed vehicle.

He or she was  five minutes away from witnessing the perfection that this rainbow was presenting to all of us who had stopped.  Whether that driver was cut off by another driver, got distracted, had a mechanical failure or was under the influence, the speed that they were travelling played a significant role in the horrific scale of the crash.

The gift of the rainbow was just within their reach, unknowingly, but they were denied the opportunity to witness it.

Life is like that sometimes.

Too many times, we drive through it recklessly, not paying attention to our actions and the potential that exists in our future and then suddenly, because we haven’t been mindful of what we are doing, the opportunity to witness and embrace the opportunities in our future are suddenly, sometimes painfully, taken away from us.

Or, even worse, in our reckless drive through Life, we eliminate someone else’s opportunity to have experienced the miracles in their own future.

This is not to suggest that we should play Life safe or be slothful in how we live our Life for fear that a Life lived too fast is a dangerous way to live.

However, it is important that we recognize that what we think, say and do and how we do it will determine our ability to discover, embrace, witness or create miracles in our lives and the lives of others.

And prevent them when we make mistakes through negligence, ignorance or failure to pay attention to what we are doing.

Life is a smorgasbord of beauty, miracles and positive potential.

But it takes wilful action on our part to get to the point where we and others can experience them.

What do you think of the actions that you are taking today?

In service and servanthood,


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